Have I lost my voice by removing myself from social media? And if so, does it matter? What is ‘my voice’ on social media, anyway?
In thinking about the decision to leave, most streams of reasoning resolve to a simple question: what kind of intermediaries do I want brokering my knowledge, communication, and interaction with other humans?
Social media platforms are publishers. I post content to them. Their algorithms decide where and when and to whom the content is delivered. Such operations are precisely the purview of publishers: distribute ‘content’ to ‘consumers.’
Except social media publishes the content of their contributors with no monetary remuneration. Instead, they pontificate platitudes and self-praise for amplifying ‘the people’s voice,’ which, in turn, retrenches their self-appointed role as gatekeepers of the public sphere. Social media manages, controls, and exploits my voice for its revenue model. It does not give me a voice at all; I give my voice to it. Is it really ‘my voice’ if someone else decides who gets to hear it?
So yes, I have effectively ‘lost my voice’ on social media, but my voice on social media was free labour for a non-transparent, self-interested publisher. It is not a ‘partnership’ upon which I want to build my dependency.